The Confederacy Declared War on the US But Not All Of It

jackt62

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Messages
3,014
Location
New York City
#1
I found this interesting. The Confederate Congress declared war on the United States on May 6, 1861. However, it specifically excluded a declaration of war against states and territories that it claimed to be part of the southern confederacy (outside of Tennessee and North Carolina which had not yet seceded.) These not only included Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware, but also the territories of Arizona, New Mexico, and so-called Indian Territory. This would appear to provide the confederacy with legal justification for carrying out military operations in those areas such as occurred in Missouri under Price and McCullough, in Kentucky under Bragg and Kirby Smith, and in Maryland under Lee.

War of the Rebellion: Serial 127 Page 0281

"AN ACT recognizing the existence of war between the United States and the Confederate States, and concerning letters of marque, prizes, and prize goods.

Whereas, the earnest efforts made by this Government to establish friendly relations between the Government of the United States and the Confederate States, and to settle all questions of disagreement between the two Governments upon principles of right, justice, equity and good faith, have proved unavailing by reason of the refusal of the Government of the United States to hold any intercourse with the commissioners appointed by this Government for the purposes aforesaid, or to listen to any proposal they had to make for the peaceful solution of all causes of difficulty between the two Governments; and

Whereas, the President of the United States of America has issued his proclamation making requisition upon the States of the American Union for 75,000 men for the purpose, as therein indicated, of capturing forts and other strongholds within the jurisdiction of, and belonging to, the Confederate States of America, and has detailed naval armaments upon the coasts of the Confederate States of America, and raised, organized, and equipped a large military force to execute the purpose aforesaid, and has issued his other proclamation announcing his purpose to set of foot a blockade of the ports of the Confederate States; and

Whereas, the State of Virginia has seceded from the Federal Union and entered into a convention of alliance offensive and defensive with the Confederate States, and has adopted the Provisional Constitution of the said States; and the States of Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Missouri have refused, and it is believed that the State of Delaware and the inhabitants of the Territories of Arizona and New Mexico, and the Indian Territory south of Kansas, will refuse to co-operate with the Government of the United States in these acts of hostilities and wanton aggression, which are plainly intended to overawe, oppress, and finally subjugate the people of the Confederate State; and Whereas, by the acts and means aforesaid, war exists between the Confederate States and the Government of the United States and the States and Territories thereof, except the States of Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri, and Delaware, and the Territories of Arizona and New Mexico, and the Indian Territory south of Kansas:"
 

(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)

CSA Today

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Dec 3, 2011
Messages
18,831
Location
Laurinburg NC
#2
I found this interesting. The Confederate Congress declared war on the United States on May 6, 1861. However, it specifically excluded a declaration of war against states and territories that it claimed to be part of the southern confederacy (outside of Tennessee and North Carolina which had not yet seceded.) These not only included Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware, but also the territories of Arizona, New Mexico, and so-called Indian Territory. This would appear to provide the confederacy with legal justification for carrying out military operations in those areas such as occurred in Missouri under Price and McCullough, in Kentucky under Bragg and Kirby Smith, and in Maryland under Lee.

War of the Rebellion: Serial 127 Page 0281

"AN ACT recognizing the existence of war between the United States and the Confederate States, and concerning letters of marque, prizes, and prize goods.

Whereas, the earnest efforts made by this Government to establish friendly relations between the Government of the United States and the Confederate States, and to settle all questions of disagreement between the two Governments upon principles of right, justice, equity and good faith, have proved unavailing by reason of the refusal of the Government of the United States to hold any intercourse with the commissioners appointed by this Government for the purposes aforesaid, or to listen to any proposal they had to make for the peaceful solution of all causes of difficulty between the two Governments; and

Whereas, the President of the United States of America has issued his proclamation making requisition upon the States of the American Union for 75,000 men for the purpose, as therein indicated, of capturing forts and other strongholds within the jurisdiction of, and belonging to, the Confederate States of America, and has detailed naval armaments upon the coasts of the Confederate States of America, and raised, organized, and equipped a large military force to execute the purpose aforesaid, and has issued his other proclamation announcing his purpose to set of foot a blockade of the ports of the Confederate States; and

Whereas, the State of Virginia has seceded from the Federal Union and entered into a convention of alliance offensive and defensive with the Confederate States, and has adopted the Provisional Constitution of the said States; and the States of Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Missouri have refused, and it is believed that the State of Delaware and the inhabitants of the Territories of Arizona and New Mexico, and the Indian Territory south of Kansas, will refuse to co-operate with the Government of the United States in these acts of hostilities and wanton aggression, which are plainly intended to overawe, oppress, and finally subjugate the people of the Confederate State; and Whereas, by the acts and means aforesaid, war exists between the Confederate States and the Government of the United States and the States and Territories thereof, except the States of Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri, and Delaware, and the Territories of Arizona and New Mexico, and the Indian Territory south of Kansas:"
I suspect the government had in mind those states and territories answering the call for troops to invade.
 

jackt62

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Messages
3,014
Location
New York City
#3
Sure, they didn't do too bad in Missouri, with the State Guard, and with their treaty with Native American tribes in the Indian territory.
But they came up short of recruits in Kentucky and Maryland.
 

thomas aagaard

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Messages
3,520
Location
Denmark
#4
For a CSA military unit to be legally able to fight the federal army you need the legal paperwork in order.
(especially for offensive operations)

With that date it is no big surprise that they exclude some states.
NC had not seceded. Having a CSA army unit go across the border at attack NC militia would have been a bad idea.
And declaring war on it might actually push NC to stay in the union.
And Excluding specific states also help maintain the illusion that the states are sovereign...
 
Joined
Jul 6, 2016
Messages
952
#7
I think that's the key point. They believed that states were not bound by the actions of a central government.
That depends upon whether or not states' rights benefited the interests of slaveholders. They were firmly against states' rights when it did not.

One of the chief complaints raised by the seceding states with the free states was that the runaway slaves found shelter in the latter, rather than being returned to their masters. They also objected to not being able to take their slaves with them while travelling through free states. Both were positions that ran counter to a doctrine of each state being sovereign.
 
Last edited:

jackt62

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Messages
3,014
Location
New York City
#8
There is a contradiction in the confederate declaration of war that indicates the conflicted way that the confederacy had about individual states' rights vs. a sovereign national government. The declaration makes the curious distinction that "war exists between the Confederate States and the Government of the United States," but then goes on to exclude certain states of the United States from that declaration. So is sovereignty invested in the states or in the national government? That question bedevilled the confederacy throughout its own existance.
 

USS ALASKA

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Mar 16, 2016
Messages
3,739
#9
...and concerning letters of marque, prizes, and prize goods.
What exactly are 'prize goods' or is that what is found on a prize vessel?

Whereas, the State of Virginia has seceded from the Federal Union and entered into a convention of alliance offensive and defensive with the Confederate States
If the Southern States seceded to escape the 'oppression' of the Federal Government and formed a Confederacy to protect themselves, what 'offensive' purposes is this referring to? Attacking the Union or looking forward to expansion? Or both?

And absolutely not trying to start a fight, I just found the wording unusual...
89

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
 
Joined
May 27, 2011
Messages
15,865
Location
los angeles ca
#10
Sure, they didn't do too bad in Missouri, with the State Guard, and with their treaty with Native American tribes in the Indian territory.
But they came up short of recruits in Kentucky and Maryland.
Actually in the Indian Territory the Confederacy didn't do all that well. Lots of desertions and defections among the Indian's. Per Steven Feeling's book the South vs the South" 25 k enlisted Confederates vs 50k Union. I have seen different figures for Missouri. The Missouri Historical Society states 110k Union vs 30k Confederate. Many of the Missouri State Guard didn't go out of state and many joined the "Paw Paw " Militia ostensibly pro Union but they defected to Price during his September 1864 invasion.
I haven't been able to get figure's on Maryland. Per Dyer's Compendium more Union soldiers then Confederate but no accounting of Confederate Marylanders enlisting in out of state regiments.
Leftyhunter
 

thomas aagaard

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Messages
3,520
Location
Denmark
#11
What exactly are 'prize goods' or is that what is found on a prize vessel?

If the Southern States seceded to escape the 'oppression' of the Federal Government and formed a Confederacy to protect themselves, what 'offensive' purposes is this referring to? Attacking the Union or looking forward to expansion? Or both?

And absolutely not trying to start a fight, I just found the wording unusual...
My guess is that the ship and the cargo are two different things.
A ship flying the US colors would be a prize, but any (civilian) cargo on it owned by a European company might not be prize cargo.
And a neutral ship with cargo belonging to a US company or the federal government would be prize cargo, but the ship might be released.
(lets say it was a British ship. The CSA would most likely let it go not to anger the UK)

About the last part.
If maryland was to join the CSA offensive operations would be needed to "free" it.
There where at least some people in the south that wanted to capture Washington.
But it could also be thinking into the future about expansion.

It is referring to a alliance between Virginia and the CSA... so we might need to find it and look at the text used...
 

jackt62

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Messages
3,014
Location
New York City
#12
Actually in the Indian Territory the Confederacy didn't do all that well. Lots of desertions and defections among the Indian's. Per Steven Feeling's book the South vs the South" 25 k enlisted Confederates vs 50k Union. I have seen different figures for Missouri. The Missouri Historical Society states 110k Union vs 30k Confederate. Many of the Missouri State Guard didn't go out of state and many joined the "Paw Paw " Militia ostensibly pro Union but they defected to Price during his September 1864 invasion.
I haven't been able to get figure's on Maryland. Per Dyer's Compendium more Union soldiers then Confederate but no accounting of Confederate Marylanders enlisting in out of state regiments.
Leftyhunter
Actually, thanks for updating me on those figures when you consider desertions and defections.
 

jackt62

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Messages
3,014
Location
New York City
#13
What exactly are 'prize goods' or is that what is found on a prize vessel?



If the Southern States seceded to escape the 'oppression' of the Federal Government and formed a Confederacy to protect themselves, what 'offensive' purposes is this referring to? Attacking the Union or looking forward to expansion? Or both?

And absolutely not trying to start a fight, I just found the wording unusual...
89

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
1. Admiralty Prizes of War would include the ship and its cargo.
2. That wording does sound unusual but I think the point is that the confederacy believed it rightly consisted of states like Missouri and Kentucky that nevertheless remained loyal to the Union. So from the southern point of view, it needed to defend and protect its existing borders within the seceded states, and engage in offensive operations to "liberate" those other states and territories it claimed its own.
 

WJC

Brigadier General
Moderator
Thread Medic
Joined
Aug 16, 2015
Messages
10,670
#14
It is not uncommon for governments to declare war or lodge some other form of complaints against another government in order to drive a wedge between that government and its citizens. "Our quarrel is with your unjust government, not you."
 

CSA Today

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Dec 3, 2011
Messages
18,831
Location
Laurinburg NC
#15
For a CSA military unit to be legally able to fight the federal army you need the legal paperwork in order.
(especially for offensive operations)

With that date it is no big surprise that they exclude some states.
NC had not seceded. Having a CSA army unit go across the border at attack NC militia would have been a bad idea.
And declaring war on it might actually push NC to stay in the union.

And Excluding specific states also help maintain the illusion that the states are sovereign...
Why on earth would a CSA army unit attack a fellow southern state that the government wanted to join their Confederacy? North Carolina wasn't threatening to invade their country, it was the Lincoln government's call for troops to invade them that finally drove the state to join them.
 
Joined
Jan 10, 2016
Messages
219
#16
If the Southern States seceded to escape the 'oppression' of the Federal Government and formed a Confederacy to protect themselves, what 'offensive' purposes is this referring to? Attacking the Union or looking forward to expansion? Or both?

And absolutely not trying to start a fight, I just found the wording unusual...
I found that wording to be a bit curious as well.

My, unsupported thinking, is that perhaps it was meant as a threat, in that Confederate forces were prepared to take the war to Northern states if they persisted in an offensive attitude against the South. So essentially it's a "back off or we'll make you pay" sort of a situation?
 

thomas aagaard

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Messages
3,520
Location
Denmark
#17
Why on earth would a CSA army unit attack a fellow southern state that the government wanted to join their Confederacy? North Carolina wasn't threatening to invade their country, it was the Lincoln government's call for troops to invade them that finally drove the state to join them.
If war was declared on NC both sides would most likely post troops (militia) along the border.
Undisciplined militias might do something stupid... even just a musket going of by mistake can cause a firefight.
Local farmers living at the border with a grudge might use the war as an excuse to solve it.
Drunk armed civilians might similarly do something to teach the traitors in NC a lesson. (they had not joined their fellow southern states)
A ship with a letter of marque would be able to attack a NC ship if they where at war. (The money in that could tempt someone)

In all cases "we are at war" would be a pretty good defense for any actions taken.

This made it clear to both NC and to everyone in the CSA that the two was not at war.
 
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Messages
633
Location
Northwest Missouri
#19
1. Admiralty Prizes of War would include the ship and its cargo.
2. That wording does sound unusual but I think the point is that the confederacy believed it rightly consisted of states like Missouri and Kentucky that nevertheless remained loyal to the Union. So from the southern point of view, it needed to defend and protect its existing borders within the seceded states, and engage in offensive operations to "liberate" those other states and territories it claimed its own.
I don't know how anyone can claim "Missouri remained loyal to the Union", given the extreme Federal intervention beginning in 1861 and continuing for the duration of the war. The intervention utilized private citizens with the assistance of Federal military personnel to organize and secretly arm foreign born militia with arms diverted from the Federal arsenal, capture and arrest of the State's legally authorized militia training camp, a formal declaration of war against the State by the appointed Federal military authority, invasion of the State by militia regiments from adjacent States under Federal authority, systematic arrest of duly elected State and County officials, systematic arrest, incarceration and dispossession of civilians deemed disloyal by local Federal authorities without due process, suspension of individual civil rights and imposition of martial law and replacement of elected officials with appointees of the Federal government. Other than that, I suppose you can claim Missouri was loyal.
 
Last edited:

jackt62

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Messages
3,014
Location
New York City
#20
I don't know how anyone can claim "Missouri remained loyal to the Union", given the extreme Federal intervention beginning in 1861 and continuing for the duration of the war. The intervention utilized private citizens with the assistance of Federal military personnel to organize and secretly arm foreign born militia with arms diverted from the Federal arsenal, capture and arrest of the State's legally authorized militia training camp, a formal declaration of war against the State by the appointed Federal military authority, invasion of the State by militia regiments from adjacent States under Federal authority, systematic arrest of duly elected State and County officials, systematic arrest, incarceration and dispossession of civilians deemed disloyal by local Federal authorities without due process, suspension of individual civil rights and imposition of martial law and replacement of elected officials with appointees of the Federal government. Other than that, I suppose you can claim Missouri was loyal.
That argument presupposes that one accepts the right of states to seceed and consequently that federal intervention to maintain a state within the Union is wrong. While certainly beset by division, at the end of the day, Missouri remained part of the Union, which is also indicated by the fact that over 109,000 men enlisted and fought for the Union but only 30,000 men fought for the Confederacy.
 



(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
Top